[extropy-chat] Role of Observer is not Relevant

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Mar 30 19:44:38 UTC 2007

On Thu, Mar 29, 2007 at 10:07:06AM -0400, Rafal Smigrodzki wrote:

> ### What does it mean "not to exist" for a number? Does the number 2
> not exist? If it doesn't exist, is it equal to nothing?

A number is an abstraction, a measurement upon a physical system/it's
configuration. It takes a) a physical system b) an appropriate configuration
c) a system doing the measurement (an observer)

a) + b) are cheap, but c) is not. Notice that human-derived systems are
causally entangled to observers it took evolution some 4 gigayears to 
build. That's a lot of work. Bootstrapping infoprocessing systems
doesn't come cheap.
> Do chickens exist? If chickens exist, how do we know they do, while
> the number 2 doesn't?

Did the number 0x0bd11a0bb188f291956549705169a996110841d4 exist?
Until a few seconds ago (until I made it) it didn't. Now it exists
in multiple copies, in multiple places. When these places are gone,
so will be this number. Until someone/something creates it again.
> How come numbers "exist" in silicon, or gray matter but not in the
> number of chickens?

Chickens can count a bit, actually.

> ### Some mathematical predictions of quantum theory have been
> confirmed to the 7th or 9th (?) significant digit. Not only does
> plasma count, it counts a lot.

Plasma doesn't do measurements. People do. Whatever plasma does,
it's not associated with pigment marks on dead tree, or pixels on
a display.

Eugen* Leitl <a href="http://leitl.org">leitl</a> http://leitl.org
ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820            http://www.ativel.com
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A  7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE

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